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Postgame: Jordy Mercer removed from game, Walker may return to lineup tomorrow

Duane Burleson

Walker prepared to pinch hit

During his pregame meeting, Clint Hurdle said that Neil Walker was in a "good place" and past the stage of being a candidate for the disabled list. In the ninth inning, he was in the on deck circle when the final out was made. Based on Hurdle's comments following the game, it now appears that Walker could be ready to return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow.

"We felt he was a usable player off the bench today, and we're a little optimistic that he might be more than that tomorrow," Hurdle said.

Mercer removed from game

Just when it looks like the Pirates might have their middle infield back to full strength, there is uncertainty surrounding the health of Jordy Mercer.

Mercer was removed from the game in the seventh inning because of right forearm tightness. He said that his arm started tightening up on him over the course of the game.

"It wasn't necessarily one throw. It was over time, I guess. It definitely got worse as the game went on," Mercer said.

He added that he has no history of arm problems.

Neal Huntington discusses potential moves

The Pirates had not officially announced the addition of John Axford when Neal Huntington met with the media shortly after today's game.

Neal Huntington said that the club continues to actively "explore all fronts" for upgrades at all positions.

"We're looking for someone that can step in and make us better, and that's a challenge," Huntington said. "Not a lot of those guys are available right now. Sometimes they are and then you work through the process and you still can't get them. And sometimes you work through the process and you can. I mean, anybody that we look to bring in here would be someone we felt would add quality and add depth."

Scherzer dominates

Max Scherzer powered through the Pirates lineup, striking out 14 over 8.0 innings. It is the 24th time in his career (20th with the Tigers) that Scherzer has struck out more than 10 hitters. The strike outs came early and often and accounted for the first seven Pirate outs. The string was broken when Chris Stewart was thrown out attempting to steal as part of a strike-‘em-out, throw-‘em-out sequence with Michael Martinez at the plate. Scherzer then went on to whiff the next batter, Gregory Polanco. So, in one way or another, all of the outs in the first three innings involved strikeouts.

"He pitched like a Cy Young Award winner," Hurdle said. "He's a horse out there, as you saw. The volume of pitches he can throw and maintain command is impressive."

As far as why the Pirates had Stewart running on a 3-and-2 pitch, Hurdle said that they were guessing Scherzer would come after Martinez with fastball in the zone giving him the chance to swing and put the ball in play against a moving and off balance infield defense.